Dear New York,
I had a feeling it might happen, as the dates I crossed off on my desk calendar loomed closer and closer to our day of meeting (finally!) while I scoured the internet, reading raves and reviews, looking at maps, flipping through magazines and photos – I became completely entranced by the city I’d kind of left off my radar for the past twenty four years. Growing up in Inverness, Florida (home of plenty of snow birds,) practically everyone and their grandmother is either from New York, or has a relative there so I’ve been listening to the city tales for years. Now in the post-grad season of life I’ve lost count of the number of friends and acquaintances who’ve moved to the city. My family has been to a variety of places (mostly connected to my dad’s work trips) but somehow NYC hadn’t creeped into that list yet. I think around the time I was twenty-three, and I had some close friends in the city (starting internships and new jobs) I tacked it on my hypothetical bucket list. I don’t have an actual bucket list written down, but I have ideas that flow through my mind and some of them stick. The sticking aspirations are the ones I cross off. Or you know, if I randomly go and hang out with some little chickens in a friends back yard than that gets crossed off the hypothetical list because it’s unique enough that if it wasn’t already on there, it should’ve been “bucket list, check!” So a few months back, a friend from college (who had lived in the city for a few months last year,) and I decided it was time to take the trip we’d been talking about for a while which is how I ended up in NYC for a few days at the end of April.
I think of how many times I’ve seen snap shots of the city on tv shows (Sex and the City, Friends, Seinfeld anyone?) and in movies, or even in my friends’ Facebook photos, but I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that swept over my heart and seemed to widen my gaze from the inside out, as I peered from the passenger side of an airport shuttle van crossing the bridge from New Jersey into the city with a view of Lady Liberty in the distance. Tribecca Film Festival banners adorned tall brick buildings, pastry shops and coffee shops lined the street where bustling people made their morning commutes.
I came across this quote on the new City Guides section on the Fathom Away site yesterday, and it seemed to encapsulate my exact thoughts:
“there is something in the new york air that makes sleep useless.” – simone de beauvoir
The woman next to me in Starbucks managed her California accounts at the counter, while I added Splenda to my skinny vanilla latte. (Really? People do that? It seemed like I’d stepped into the scene of a story.) I played the first few bars of “Yankee Doodle” on the BIG piano in FAO Schwarz. My inner five year old squealed with delight at the array of pink in the Eloise section of The Plaza (where I saw a small Eloise look-a-like almost get run over by an oncoming taxi!) We flailed around in a row boat as the sunshine poured over us in the middle of Central Park. Field trippers took to the streets in their little pressed uniforms. Middle aged men sang “Strawberry Fields” under their breath near the Imagine Memorial. Boys gave up their seats on the crowded subway, (how gentlemen-like!) My windburn cheeks puckered as I slurrped up a “Black and White” shake from Shake Shack. We nestled into a booth at The 13th Step with friends, and it felt like a little piece of college catapulted to these other years of life. We shopped, we ate pizza, we ran into a friend in the TCKTS line. We ate cupcakes! I overheard wonderous conversations that would make for such interesting writing material, from the mouths of middle school girls in a food court restroom. We saw engagement photo shoots being snapped in the breezy sidewalks. I felt those tingly butterflies of excitement as we waited outside of the theater for How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying.) Yes, the one that is now starring Nick Jonas. Oh my, there were so many girls in line screaming “I love you Nick, you’re beautiful!” so that was definitely interesting. We got swept up in the crowds of Time Square, and took pictures in the photobooth in Forever 21. We watched moms and sons run to make their little league games in Central Park. We explored The Met, as tourists with large digital SLR cameras around their necks ran from canvas to statues snapping photos and coming extremely close to toppling the displays. I tried to absorb every bit of it, the unfamiliar thin black lines of Degas self portrait sketches, the creamy blues of Matisse’s waters. One of my favorite places to be is an art museum, where amazement catches my breath in my throat. We ate gourmet pretzels with feta cheese, and yummy thick huge slices of pizza that’s totally worth throwing a diet out the window for a bit. Needless to say it was a fabulous trip and I am in love with this city and have the strongest desire to return to it soon – there’s so much to explore and experience.
Here are a few photos from the trip, I’m sure I’ll share a few more later: